This vintage we invited a group of Sommelier’s from top Melbourne restaurant group Grossi, for their own taste of the Mildura #bucketwine experience. After what seemed like an eternity of scorching hot days and endless heatwaves during the beginning of vintage, in mid February for their arrival we were blessed with a cool change and had two blue sky days, topped off with a nice breeze, and temperatures that didn’t crack 30 degrees. Relief!
The Grossi wine teams fearless leader, Mark Protheroe, rounded up his troops and took the short flight up to sunny Mildura to embark on two days of tasting fruit, picking, plucking, pressing, racking, eating, drinking and shooting the breeze about all things Chalmers, Italian varieties, Mildura, Heathcote and of course our shared love of vino. The aim was for the Grossi Somm team to make their own #bucketwines for them to sell in the various Grossi venues around Melbourne. After a vineyard tour and trying most of the 40ish varieties we have in the block – a team meeting was held to decide which varieties and styles these wine enthusiasts would like to make and soon after, picking began. Joining the #bucketwine experience from our distributors – Cellarhand – was representative Sam Hooper as well as ‘woine’ writer and all round good guy, Dave Brookes.
The finalists were… Arneis, Garganega, Greco, Moscato Giallo, Refosco, Schioppettino, Sangiovese, and Aglianico. What a selection!
Apart from winemaking, the somms were treated to lunch in ‘The Tavern’ where we showed off our range of good time wines from the Montevecchio range. They went down a treat with a farmhouse style lunch with goodies from our veggie garden.
We also held a Masterclass featuring new vintage releases of Chalmers and introduced our newest member of the portfolio – Felicitas – a Sparkling Fiano made using traditional Champagne methods.
We talked about Chalmers, the past, the present and the exciting future (never a dull moment) and had the room abuzz with mentioning our latest news of bringing in new varieties to Australia such as Ribolla Gialla, Falanghina and Pecorino. Woohoo! The evening celebrations started with a Lambrusco tasting of 4 different examples we have either released or trialled served with cured meats – the perfect accompaniment. A beautiful long table dinner at the accommodation poolside topped off the day with five courses matched to our current and new release Chalmers range wines. A big thank you goes to the beautiful Lady Julia, a friend from here in Mildura, who effortlessly helped me with cooking and serving the meal on the night. If you know anything about those lovely folk that work in the hospitality industry – there were some keen participants whom had brought their drinking boots with them. Let’s just say the Negroni’s were flowing. A good night was had by all.
Day two saw some more winery work including pressing, racking and testing the analyses of the new ferments, finished off with a taste of some of our own #bucketwine ferments from this vintage – a task which was quite daunting for some who’d been a little too keen the night before. There was light at the end of the tunnel though in the form of burgers. And what goes with burgers? Beer! Mildura Brewery Beer in fact. We popped in to the Mildura Brewery for lunch, tasted the range of brew’s and tucked into some of the regions finest pub food before the troops headed to the airport, a little weary and ready for a kip on the plane.
We love creating the opportunity to show newcomers to the region what we have to offer, to pass on our passion for all things alternative and to hopefully recruit some new Mildura fans. The finished #bucketwines will filter through to the Grossi venues as they are ready. The first cab’s of the rank will be the whites and rose, and they’ll be ready within the next couple of weeks – so why not pop into one of the Grossi establishments and have a glass for yourself! Remember, these wines have been made with no additions and nothing more than some buckets, glass demijohns, a funnel, sieve and a lot of love. They are unfiltered and as with our own #bucketwines – are bottled in a long neck beer bottle, with a crown seal and have a hand written label, we love rustic. They are clean and pure and are great examples of the potential of these varieties in Australian conditions. We think they are pretty great wines and we hope you do too.